With Manny Pacquiao’s controversial Majority Decision win over Juan Manuel Marquez in their rubber match, boxing fans are left with more questions than answers. Here are the 10 questions to ask after Pacquiao vs. Marquez III.
Did Pacquiao deserve to win the fight?
Pacquiao received another disputed decision against his arch-rival, and many fans are upset at the result, as shown when he was heartily booed during the post-fight interview by the Marquez contingent in the audience. I scored the fight as a Draw, 114-114, and felt Marquez could have got the win. A Pacquiao win doesn’t sit quite right with me, but he clearly got the nod based on a combination of work rate, aggressiveness, and pre-fight expectations.
Did Pacquiao get the decision in order to keep the Pacquiao vs. Mayweather mega-fight intact?
Controversial decisions are nothing new to boxing, and a common theme amongst them is often that the big name star gets a win in order to preserve an impending super fight. A common example of this is Oscar De La Hoya’s “win” over Felix Sturm preceding his middleweight showdown with Bernard Hopkins.
This decision isn’t nearly as bad as that one, and it’s unlikely the judges had Floyd Mayweather on their minds when they tallied up their scorecards. However, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a bias in these scenarios. When one fighter enters a match as a huge favorite and as one of the biggest stars in the sport, it’s easy to get into a habit of giving close rounds to him as a result.
Why was Marquez overlooked so greatly heading into the fight?
Coming off two fights where Pacquiao had a collective 1-point advantage after 24 rounds and six separate scorecards, Marquez was a massive underdog in this fight. Given his style and skill, it’s somewhat astonishing how much he was disregarded here. More analysts, myself included, should have retained the line of thinking that styles make fights, and Marquez’s is perfect for Pacquiao’s, period. Age and weight and Pacquiao’s improvement be damned. Everyone bought into the Pacquiao hype a bit too much for this match.
Will Top Rank and Bob Arum avoid putting a Mayweather fight together?
Pacquiao had a lot of openings in his game exploited by Marquez. Mainly that he’s there to be hit, countered and timed, and that when he’s hit clean, he can be hurt. Not only that, but the right defensive style can confuse him and slow down his attack. One has to think that Mayweather can do what Marquez did, but even more effectively. All of that means that Bob Arum and Top Rank may be a bit reluctant to put Pacquiao in the ring with Mayweather. Indeed, at the post-fight press conference, talk from Arum was of Pacquiao-Marquez IV next May, not Pacquiao-Mayweather.
Will public perception of Pacquiao, his status in the sport, and his role in succeeding or failing to put together a Mayweather fight change?
As a result of the less-than-stellar performance, and Mayweather’s pre-fight public interest in putting together a fight for May 2012, public opinion may finally swing towards Floyd. Pacquiao has enjoyed the backing of the common sports fan, but fans are fickle, and Mayweather may soon find himself gaining more mainstream support if he pushes for this fight to get made. Pacquiao already experienced a lusty booing following the fight, and it’s something he certainly didn’t enjoy.
Should Floyd Mayweather be a large favorite over Pacquiao if they fight?
After watching each man’s most recent performance, Mayweather’s KO over Ortiz and Pacquiao’s victory over Marquez, Mayweather appears to be more on top of his game than Pacquiao is at the moment. Considering that Mayweather is bigger and more powerful than Marquez, with better boxing skills, he should be favored against Pacquiao if that fight gets put together. I’ve always been of the opinion that Mayweather beats Pacquiao, and it’s a stance I feel more confident in after each man’s last fight.
Will Mayweather get full credit if he defeats Pacquiao now?
One can almost already hear detractors after a Pacquiao-Mayweather contest saying that Mayweather beat Pacquiao, but Marquez already exposed him and that’s the only reason he took the fight and then won. OK. We’re a long way off here. The fight isn’t made, or close to being made, and Mayweather is by no means assured of winning against Pacman, one of the best fighters of the past 25 years. If the fight does happen though, fans from both sides have to enter the fight with a clear head and a no-excuses mandate.
Should Mayweather move back into the number 1 pound for pound slot?
This is a what have you done lately for me world, and in no sport is a competitor’s last performance as vivid an example of a current man’s status than it is boxing. Mayweather just dominated a welterweight titleholder. Pacquiao just went life and death with a guy Mayweather trounced two years ago. I think that’s enough to put Mayweather back into the number 1 pound for pound slot.
Should we disregard Pacquiao’s poor showing as a case of one guy who has his number, a la Muhammad Ali with Ken Norton, and Shane Mosley with Vernon Forrest?
Alright, Pacquiao didn’t look good, but Marquez has always given him issues. Their styles mesh perfectly against one another, and it’s not the first case in boxing’s history where a fighter clearly regarded as “better” is troubled by a guy with the right, or wrong, style for him. It happened with Ali and Norton, with Mosley and Forrest, and countless others. So before the Pacquiao hype machine completely falls apart, remember this might be a mere blip on the radar, and not a sign of anything else besides how these two men fare against one another.
Is Pacquiao slowing down?
Pacquiao’s body has been through a lot over the past few years as he has climbed from super featherweight up to welterweight, and has at times competed with guys coming into the ring as middleweights. Pacquiao’s team also complained of cramps after the fight, an issue he has in the past as well. It’s enough to make one wonder if he and his body are beginning to slow down.
Additionally, Pacquiao, his training team and even his sparring partners all said how exceptional, sharp and prepared he was heading into this showdown. It was the best training camp of his career, but then he had a let-down performance on fight night. Looking strong in training camp and then underperforming in the ring is a classic sign of an aging fighter, or one beginning to head on a downward slope.
Sources: HBO PPV, Boxrec.com, ESPN Boxing, Yahoo! Sports
Jake Emen runs the boxing news website ProBoxing-Fans.com. You can find more of his writing, along with interviews, rankings and breaking news stories at the site, or you can follow ProBoxing-Fans.com on Twitter, @ProBoxingFans.